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Capitalism, Bigotry, Racism and War

The world under capitalist dictatorship

By Bonnie Weinstein

Fightback!:
A Collection of Socialist Essays

by Sylvia Weinstein

The capitalist system is based upon the need to constantly increase the rate of profit for the wealthy who rule. Every social, political and economic decision made by the capitalist ruling class is based upon this main driving principle. The capitalists argue that the more profits increase, the better off the world’s economy will be, which will, in turn, result in an increase in the living standards of everyone—they call it the “trickle-down theory.”

The empirical evidence in today’s world disproves this phony theory. The capitalist elite has accumulated more wealth than ever before, yet the working-class has seen their incomes and living standards plummet across the globe.

That’s because the only way the capitalists can increase their rate of profit in today’s world is through austerity for the masses, i.e., by reducing the living standards of workers and increasing the profits for themselves.

This is a worldwide phenomenon. No matter which political system rules—religious dictatorship, monarchy or so-called capitalist “democracy”—austerity for the masses is the order of the day. And the only way this can be enforced by the worlds’ tiny, ruling capitalist-elite is through the practice of bigotry, racism and war—the prime capitalist tools of divide and conquer.

Bigotry

Capitalism uses bigotry to justify and enforce the criminalization of immigrants everywhere. They bank on their ability to pit immigrants against “citizens” by convincing the working class of one country that the immigrant workers from another country are their enemies, and the cause of their own economic distress.

It is nothing more than the old magician’s trick of “misdirection.” Misdirection is a form of deception in which the attention of an audience is focused on one thing in order to distract its attention from another.

The capitalists don’t want us to focus our attention on how they increase their own wealth by exploiting raw materials and cheap labor in less developed countries, making it impossible for the working class in those countries to survive and support their families within their own borders.

At the same time they inflict draconian austerity measures against the working class in their own countries in order to increase their rate of profit. They get away with it by misdirecting the blame onto the immigrants struggling for their lives.

In a June 14, 2015 New York Times article by Julia Preston titled, “Hope and Despair as Families Languish in Texas Immigration Centers,” the author reports,

“DILLEY, Texas—Workers are putting the finishing touches on rows of barracks in a 50-acre camp here, the largest immigration detention center in the country. It houses thousands of women and their children who were caught crossing the border illegally and are seeking asylum in the United States…

“While the number of people crossing the border illegally has dropped sharply this year, families continue to come. Since October 1, more than 17,000 parents and children have been caught along the Southwest border, according to official figures. At the Dilley camp, more than half the detainees are children. Their average age is nine.”

And in another New York Times article dated June 20, 2015, by Sergio Peçanha and Tim Wallace titled, “Around the Globe, a Desperate Flight From Turmoil,”

“Nearly 60 million people are displaced around the world because of conflict and persecution, the largest number ever recorded by the United Nations. About 14 million of those fled in 2014, according to a report released this week…About 11.6 million Syrians have been displaced, nearly half of Syria’s entire population…About 15 million people are displaced in sub-Saharan Africa—4.5 million of them fled last year.”

All these displaced people are fleeing one or more of the three divide-and-conquer tools of capitalism—bigotry, racism and war. And in so doing, they are forced to become the fuel for more of the same.

Racism

The U.S.s prison system is fueled by racism. The rich get a bailout and the poor—especially those of color—go to jail.

According to an April 20, 2015 New York Times article by Justin Wolfers, David Leonhardt and Kevin Quealy titled, “1.5 Million Missing Black Men,”

“In New York, almost 120,000 Black men between the ages of 25 and 54 are missing from everyday life. In Chicago, 45,000 are, and more than 30,000 are missing in Philadelphia. Across the South—from North Charleston, South Carolina, through Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi and up into Ferguson, Missouri—hundreds-of-thousands more are missing.

“They are missing, largely because of early deaths or because they are behind bars.”

In fact, according to a September 17, 2014, Think Progress article by Nicole Flatow titled, “The United States has the Largest Prison Population in the World—And it’s Growing,”

“Both in raw numbers and by percentage of the population, the United States has the most prisoners of any developed country in the world—and it has the largest total prison population of any nation…

“More than 1.57 million inmates sat behind bars in federal, state, and county prisons and jails around the country as of December 31, 2013. …Black men are six times more likely than white men to be in prison. Hispanic men are 2.4 times more likely, according to a Sentencing Project analysis of the data.

“This doesn’t paint the full picture of the U.S. incarceration system. Many have estimated the total number of U.S. incarceration to be more than 2.4 million. This is in part because another estimated 12 million individuals cycle through the county jail systems in a given year for periods of less than a year, and are therefore not factored into a snapshot on December 31.”

The prison system is the ultimate capitalist tool to divide and conquer, literally dividing Black and poor men and women from the rest of society by putting them in prison.

The wealthy are virtually immune to incarceration—even when guilty of the theft of billions of dollars—while the poor are given long, sometimes-mandatory life sentences mostly for crimes of poverty.

And the prison system doesn’t stop with adults. Working class children are routinely driven from school into the prison pipeline.

A June 20, 2015 New York Times article by The Associated Press titled, “Texas Law Decriminalizes School Truancy” powerfully demonstrates the types of laws that criminalize children and their families in the schools,

“DALLAS—A longstanding Texas law that has sent about 100,000 students a year to criminal court—and some to jail—for missing school is off the books, while a Justice Department investigation into one county’s truancy courts continues.

“Governor Greg Abbott has signed into law a measure to decriminalize unexcused absences and require school districts to put preventive measures into effect. It will take effect September 1, 2015.

“Opponents of the previous law said the threat of a heavy fine—up to $500, plus court costs—and a criminal record was not keeping children in school and was sending those who could not pay into a criminal justice system spiral.

“Under that law, students as young as 12 could be ordered to court if they had three unexcused absences in four weeks. Schools were required to file a misdemeanor failure to attend school charge against students with more than ten unexcused absences in six months. Unpaid fines landed some students behind bars when they turned 17. …In 2013, Texas prosecuted about 115,000 cases, more than twice the number of truancy cases filed in juvenile courts of all other states, according to a report from the nonprofit advocacy group Texas Appleseed. An estimated $10 million was collected from court costs and fines from students for truancy in the 2014 fiscal year, the Texas Office of Court Administration said.”

The police use of violence goes hand-in-hand with the prison system. The police are capitalism’s enforcers of racism. They occupy the Black, Brown and poor communities to promote hostilities and to ensure that any expressions of protest, solidarity and unity are squashed the minute they show themselves.

The police enforce the laws designed to impoverish the poor and enrich the wealthy.

They promote fear because they are, in fact, weak. They are allowed to murder with impunity to promote this fear and disguise their weakness.

Compared to the population they are a tiny minority who could be overrun by a unified mass movement organized against police violence.

The capitalists fear the masses most of all. That’s why they are increasingly militarizing the police—getting them prepared for a class war of the rich against the poor.

But recent police murders are backfiring for the capitalist class. The true role of police murder and violence as a form of dominance over the masses is being revealed by the refusal of the commanders of capitalism to convict cops for murder—even in the most obvious and blatant cases.

According to a June 20, 2015 New York Times article by Lydia Polgreen titled, “From Ferguson to Charleston and Beyond, Anguish about Race Keeps Building,”

“Ferguson. Baltimore. Staten Island. North Charleston. Cleveland.

“Over the past year in each of these American cities, an unarmed Black male has died at the hands of a police officer, unleashing a torrent of anguish and soul-searching about race in America. Despite video evidence in several of the killings, each has spurred more discord than unity.

“Grand juries have tended to give the benefit of the doubt to police officers…

“The massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston was something else entirely from the police killings. But it, too, has become a racial flash point and swept aside whatever ambiguity seemed to muddle those earlier cases, baldly posing questions about race in America: Was the gunman a crazed loner motivated by nothing more than his own madness? Or was he an extreme product of the same legacy of racism that many Black Americans believe sent Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Walter Scott and Tamir Rice to their graves?

“The debate has already begun.”

The immediate job of all working people is to take the side of the victims of police violence—to join with them to oppose capitalism’s violence and occupation of our communities.

But that is not enough.

We must stand opposed to capitalist war—to the violent occupation of the world’s working-class communities.

War

Capitalist war unleashes chaos upon innocent civilians and on those foolish enough to enlist in the capitalist military. The civilians, the working classes of the world, are the real targets of capitalist war.

Their wars destroy our land, our infrastructure—our schools, our homes, hospitals, workplaces, our water supply, our electricity, heat and cooking fuel—everything needed to sustain life.

All capitalist war is a war against working people.

The non-commanding members of the military are nothing but cannon fodder to the commanders of capital. The commanders don’t shed their own blood—just the blood of the working class in their service.

And make no doubt about it, the purpose of the class war of the capitalist against the working class is to ensure their continued control over the world’s wealth and its natural resources.

They willingly carry out these wars for the sole purpose of increasing their own rate of profit at the cost of all else that is human, kind, forgiving and peaceful.

The quest for a peaceful world

We all want to live in a world free of violence, poverty, ignorance, bigotry, racism and war—a world without any need for weapons of death and destruction.

The fight for socialism requires us to wage a humanitarian revolution against the violence of capitalism.

A united working class devoted to creating a socialist society is the only power that has the strength and ability to disarm the capitalists—to take away their weapons—to do away with all the guns, bombs, chemicals and poisons designed to kill. And to prevent the capitalists from carrying out any other actions that could lead to the destruction of humanity, our planet, and all the life upon it.

Socialism is the peaceful solution to capitalist tyranny. The goal of a socialist economic system of production is to fulfill the needs of all.

It squarely places the well being of people and our shared planet first and foremost.